North Adriatic


For the first year since long time ago Venice remained without a direct ferry line to Greece: Adriatica transferred the “Egitto Express” to Albanian services, closing its hystorical service from the Lagoon to Greece and Egypt. But the most interesting new fact was introduced by Anek Lines with the “El. Venizelos”, the new flagship of the Cretan fleet. Greece never saw so much among ferries: 38.772 GRT, 3.000 passengers, 1.100 vehicles and features of a cruise-ships. And that ferry was not only the biggest in Greece, but the biggest all over the Mediterranean Sea. ANEK made a new timetable departing on Thursday evening from Patras, arriving at Trieste on Saturday morning at 09.00, a very similar timetable to the one operated to Ancona. The ferry left Trieste on Saturday at 13.30, calling to Ancona on the way to Greece, arriving at Patras on Monday at 07.00. Also the former flagship “Lato” called to Trieste once a week, leaving Patras on Tuesday and Trieste on Thursday at 12.30 to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras.






Even if the previous year Ancona saw a lot of new facts, this year we saw few, although remarkable ones. Anek Lines had the same new entries as Trieste, where the most interesting one was the new flagship “El. Venizelos”, leaving Ancona on Wednesday at 14.00 and on Saturday at 23.30, coming back from Patras on Monday at 22.00. The “Lato” replaced the “Lissos” in her timetable, but sailing from Ancona only on Sunday at 21.00, coming back from Patras on Friday at 24.00. The “Lissos” was sent to domestic routes, while the “Kydon” was on international services on a not regular basis. Minoan Lines, while not introducing new tonnage, had a very interesting new fact among their services, the departure daily at standard time from every port, a concept which was reintroduced only five years later from a different operator. This was possible due to the deployment of the “Ariadne” on Ancona – Igoumenitsa – Corfu – Patras line together with the “El Greco”, “Fedra” and “Daedalus”. The original service of the “Ariadne” was rationalized with those of the “Festos”, which was then engaged on an Ancona – Patras – Heraklion – Kusadasi line, leaving from the Italian port every Saturday at 15.00. Even the timetable of the “Erotokritos” was rearranged to offer 24 hours crossings even from Greece, and sometimes also the ro/ro “Agia Galini” was engaged on Ancona line. As they did in 1992, Strintzis Lines continued to offer the same service from Ancona with “Ionian Galaxy” and “Ionian Island”, while Marlines instead cut some of their Ancona services: the “Crown M” stopped sailing to Rhodes and Limassol, replacing her original timetable with two weekly sailings, one to Heraklion via Igoumenitsa or Igoumenitsa – Patras, and one to Patras, stopping at Igoumenitsa or sailing directly to Peloponnese, this due to the good speed of the ferry. The sailings from Ancona were usually on Friday and on Monday or Tuesday. The “Countess M” remained on her classical route, even if calling also at Corfu. The last operator at Ancona which replaced the disappeared Karageorgis was G.A. Ferries, a company belonging to Agoudimos family, which introduced the “cruise-ferry” concept in the Aegean Sea. The ferry cosen for this adventure was the “Rodanthi”, a very nice ferry but a little smaller than the nother ferries engaged on Ancona line. On low season she had the classical “flagship” timetable, sailing from Ancona on Wednesday at 15.00 and Saturday at 22.00, Monday and Thursday evening from Patras; anyway in high season the timetable provided three sailings from Ancona at 20.00 on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the first two times sailing only to Corfu and Igoumenitsa, the later one also to Patras, arriving at 23.00. This timetable was very hard to be maintained and from my sources it wasn’t performed. The service was decided only with a ferry; anyway the company added later the “Romilda”, which didn’t gained the licence to operate in Aegean sea and was flagged out, being engaged on the same timetable of the “Ionian Island”. Finally, the services at Ortona, grown as a bubble of soap, so rapidly ceased and came to an end. 





Under the pressare of the other companies which tried to fight its leadership, Ventouris Ferries finally introduced the best ro-pax in the Adriatic Sea, the “Polaris”. We had then six Ventouris vessels sailing from Bari, with three departures every night at 20.30. The first one sailed only to Corfu and Igoumenitsa, performed by the “Grecia Express” and the “Vega”; the second one was performed by “Polaris” and “Saturnus”, sailing directly to Patras (arrival at 13.00) calling sometimes at Igoumenitsa; the later departure was effected by the “Athens Express” and the “Venus” and usually called in Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Cephalonia. Strintzis Lines quitted its Southern-Italy service, while Arkadia Lines sold its “Paloma” to Chinese interests, being replaced by the “Silver Paloma” which sailed on Bari – Corfu – Igoumenitsa – Patras line along with the “Dimitrios Express”. Finally, Poseidon Lines confirmed the “Sea Serenade” and the “Sea Wave” on Bari – Igoumenitsa – Patras line. Anyway, another operator emerged at Bari: the Olympic Ferries. Their services started on summer with two chartered vessels, the “Ambassador” and the “Marko Polo”, engaged between Bari, Igoumenitsa and Patras (even if, according to my sources, the “Ambassador” was sailing only to Igoumenitsa). This company was not so lucky, and its services ceased soon, but her livery is still remembered as a very wonderful one.




BRINDISI – Otranto


The most important operator from Brindisi was again the Greek HML, serving the port with six different ferries, as long as Ventouris Ferries did at Bari, even if here we can see till four departures every day: the first one, at 09.00, was usually performed by the “Apollonia II” to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Paxi, then the one of 20.00, with “Media II” and “Poseidonia” to Igoumenitsa, Cephalonia, Ithaca and Patras, at 21.00 the “Lydia” sailed to Corfu and Igoumenitsa, finally “Corinthia” and “Egnatia” leaved Brindisi at 22.00 to Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras. As the previous year, Adriatica sailed again with the “Palladio” on Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa service, the “Laurana” on Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa – Patras line and the “Sansovino” on the direct line Brindisi – Patras. Marlines, for the third year, sailed between Brindisi, Igoumenitsa and Patras, calling on summer at Corfu and omitting to call at Ithaca with the “Duchess M” and “Baroness M”. the ro-pax service of Mediterranean Line was still performed by “Raffaello” and “Valentino”, while another company belonging to the same owner, Med Link Lines, started a primarily-freight service with the “Afrodite II”, leaving at 14.00 from Brindisi, a very strange timetable. Fragline had its pair of vessels on Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa – Patras line, the “Eolos” and the “Ouranos”, even if only the “Ouranos” sailed to Patras. Then, “Annamaria Lauro” continued to sail from Otranto to Corfu and Igoumenitsa under the colours of Linee Lauro.


Photos in this page are courtesy of Matteo Fasce, Pieter Inpijn, Fleet File Rotterdam, Kurth Warth, Emilio Barenghi, Michele Lulurgas, Stefanos Antoniadis,  plus some official shots.


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